Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20410
HUD No. 96-169
FOR RELEASE: Thursday, September 26, 1996
Vivian Potter (202) 708-0685 x117
Bill Connelly (202) 708-0685 x115
CISNEROS LAUNCHES NEW "BRIDGES TO WORK PROGRAM LINKING INNER-CITY POOR TO JOBS IN SUBURBAN COMMUNITIES
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Henry G. Cisneros today announced a new Bridges to Work jobs program that will link inner-city welfare recipients to jobs in the suburbs of five communities -- Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. Cisneros also proposed a $75 million expansion of the program to cities nationwide.
"The best replacement for a welfare check is a paycheck," Cisneros said. "Bridges to Work will help lift thousands of American families off welfare and into the workplace."
Bridges to Work is a research demonstration program that will work in partnership with local public and private entities to link low-income, inner-city residents with private sector suburban jobs by providing job placement, transportation, and supportive services.
HUD is proposing to expand the Bridges to Work initiative to cities nationwide in fiscal year 1998 as part of the Administration's larger effort to successfully implement welfare reform. HUD proposes to provide $75 million to help 75-100 metropolitan areas develop strategies for Bridges to Work programs, with a preference for communities designated as Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.
Once these new Bridges to Work programs are in place, they will be eligible for funding under the President's $3 billion welfare-to-work jobs initiative, HUD's community development block grant program and public housing social services block grant and other federal funding sources. In addition, the President has proposed tax credits for employers who hire long-term welfare recipients.
Research into linking inner-city residents to work shows that in six of the eight largest metropolitan areas, more than two-thirds of the jobs created during the 1980s were located in the suburbs. In addition, in 1990, inner-city poverty rates in the nation's eight largest metropolitan areas were two to five times higher in center cities than in suburbs.
"To be successful, welfare reform efforts must connect welfare recipients to where the jobs are, "Cisneros said. "Increasingly these jobs are not in central cities, but in outlying suburbs. Bridges to Work is designed to do just that."
The program provides three types of assistance:
- placement in existing, private sector suburban jobs through a metropolitan placement system;
- transportation provided to connect workers to otherwise inaccessible suburban jobs; and,
- supportive services, including child care, counseling and crisis intervention, to help workers hold and maintain their jobs in suburban communities.
The total funding for the pilot program Bridges to Work is $17 million over four years, including $8 million from HUD and $3 million from local public and private contributions. The Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation will provide another $6 million for monitoring, research, and evaluation.
The following is the funding from HUD for each of the five cities: Baltimore - $1.7 million, Chicago - $1.6 million - Denver - $1.5 million, Milwaukee - $1.1 million, St. Louis - $1.5 million.
Bridges to Work was developed by Public Private Ventures (P/PV), a non-profit research organization. Through the financial support of various foundations, HUD, P/PV, and the Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Authority assisted cities in developing plans to participate.